Nearly every smartphone has at least one navigation app on it. Mine has three. Google Maps, Apple Maps, and Waze. I use them all for different reasons but there’s one thing they have in common that is equally useful and maddening:
Every navigation program provides you with more than one route for your intended trip. You can even tell certain apps which routes you’d like to avoid (if you know them).
And while this feature is useful when you’re familiar with the area, it’s frustrating when you find yourself driving around in a new place. How do I know which route to take? Is there anyone who can tell me which one is better? What if everyone else decides to take my same route?
If you’re staring at the roadmap of business ownership and finding yourself with some of the same questions, you are not alone. Barron Cuadro, founder of Effortless Gent, found himself in a similar place. Barron wished that there was a navigation app for his business, something that could tell him more about his chosen route.
Recently, I grabbed Barron and asked him about his life as a professional blogger. I wanted to know more about what he does, how his days flow (a big question from you guys), how he defines success, and what his GPS says now.
When it comes to doing business in a niche market online, Barron is no stranger.
We just passed the six-year mark, which feels pretty long (at least in Internet years),” he reflected. At Effortless Gent, Barron helps guys nail down the basics of style so dressing well becomes second nature. It’s not just a men’s fashion blog, though.
I think there are clear roads to take in certain niches. If you blog about blogging or making money online, for example, the path is well-worn.
For style, and specifically men’s style, it’s a little bit different. There are plenty of bloggers doing WIWT (What I Wore Today) content, which is basically taking photos of your outfits every day, but there are only a few who produce instructional, “how-to” type content, and even fewer who are looking to monetize with digital products (instead of depending solely on ad revenue).
While some might shy away from a relatively untouched area, Barron dove right in – seeing a need and knowing he could solve for the answers within it. It’s this kind of thinking outside the box that really gets Barron moving each day…. after he sleeps in just a bit.
I’m not an early riser; I usually wake up around 9am. make some coffee, and start my work day. I don’t normally eat until 12 or 1 pm, so this gives me a good chunk of time before I take a long break.
I usually work throughout the afternoon and try to call it a day by 6 or 7pm, but if I’m on a roll, I have dinner and hang out with my wife for a bit, and then put in another hour or two before wrapping up.
Most of the time, I try to get outside and wander around NYC. I find that it helps reset my brain and lets the creative juices flow, solving problems without actively thinking about them.
And that flow of creative juice isn’t passive by any means. As the head of his company, Barron is constantly planning for the next step by keeping an eye on the 10,000 foot view of his business.
From a content perspective, I want to be positioned as a style and lifestyle publication. For that to happen, I’d have to bring on a few more contributors so we can publish more content under a number of different verticals. This won’t be too far of a stretch, since we’ll be covering relevant topics our core reader is interested in (eating, drinking, living, and traveling well).
I’d also like to experiment with paid email memberships–extra in-depth content, tips, and tactics that are shared only with members.
I’m still learning a lot about selling eGuides and courses at different price points within my niche, so I’ll continue to experiment with that as well.
As a professional blogger, content certainly is King for Barron and Effortless Gent. But content, eGuides, and courses don’t mean much without revenue behind them. In the world of women’s fashion blogging, brand partnerships (also known as sponsorships, underwritten content, or ambassadorships) are the financial foundation for most of those savvy ladies. I asked Barron if anything was different for him in the men’s fashion world.
There are currently three main revenue streams:
- eBooks / courses (~30% of revenue): we have two eGuides and one course that are essentially more in-depth lessons about how to put together a versatile wardrobe, how to dress stylishly, what to buy, etc.
- brand partnerships (~60% of revenue): we put together campaigns that feature specific brands or products we love and use, tell our readers about them, and weave their products as examples into our informational articles. This category also includes any display, email, and social ad campaigns.
- affiliate income (~10% of revenue): we get a small chunk of revenue whenever a reader buys something on a site after clicking on one of our links.
But, like any good captain, Barron knows his ship needs a crew to get it to the next destination (mixing metaphors/modes of transportation? maybe. just go with me here).
For many years, I was running everything on my own, so most of my week was spent writing content and then setting it up to be published.
This included a few rounds of editing, finding images, placing everything in WordPress, SEO setup, and making sure everything looked good one final time before scheduling the article.
Oh, and then I had to set up social promotion, making sure tweets and Facebook updates were scheduled throughout the week.
Now, my editor helps me with all tasks related to publishing and promotion, so I can focus on writing and more high-level business-related tasks. I also have a few writers who regularly contribute content every month, and a couple freelancers I count on regularly.
Which leaves Barron free to try new things almost every day.
I love that I could literally think up a new product, create an MVP [minimum viable product], and in a few days, email my audience about it. Even if it’s not a runaway success, I can iterate and improve, and launch it again.
I feel in total control of my progress and success, and while that may be scary to some, it drives me to learn quickly and do better every day.
So how exactly did Barron know which route to take in his Business Ownership Navigation (™) App?
[This was] the biggest mystery to me in the beginning – deciding which path to take. I’m realizing now that you can go all in with one method (e.g. all ads), or dabble in a little bit of everything, from ads, to digital products, to brand partnerships, even physical products.
Start with one idea, one product, one partnership. After that’s done, decide if it was a success to you and how you want to proceed… either by doing more of that thing, or trying something new.
The most important thing is to just start.
Remember: you can always recalculate your route or turn the GPS off entirely and just go for a joy ride. But you can’t go anywhere unless you start the car and put it in drive.
Barron Cuadro created Effortless Gent to help regular guys look and feel their best. Effortless Gent is a place where you can learn the basics of style and equip yourself with just enough knowledge to put together a good-looking, no-nonsense Lean Wardrobe that’s not only simple to maintain, but easy to combine into everyday outfits that will work no matter where you’re headed.
Be sure to grab his free eGuide, The Lean Wardrobe: Five Principles to Achieve Closet Mastery by heading to EffortlessGent.com.